New Movies: ‘Fast Five,' ‘Prom'

Herewith, a brief round-up of this weekend's opening flicks, and the conventional wisdom surrounding them. In descending order of awesomeness.

The Double Hour
The Story: A lonely maid and cop meet at a speed dating event and suddenly find hope and potential in their lives before a violent incident interrupts their idyl.
The Skinny: An Italian film from Giuseppe Capotondi, it won three awards in the Venice Film Festival and promises to be both emotionally gripping and, at times, physically harrowing. Sam Adams at the City Paper offers a mixed reaction: "The movie vacillates between a compelling social-realist romance and a well-shot but mechanical labyrinth of plot; either might work on its own, but they don't fit together smoothly."
Full Review: The Double Hour
Now Playing: Ritz Five
Complete the Experience: Keep Italia in the house, so to speak, with a visit to Paradiso in East Passyunk.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Lebanon, Pa.
The Story: A well-meaning ad man from Philadelphia travels to the countryside to bury his recently deceased father and gets embroiled in his family's concerns.
The Skinny: A bittersweet comedy from area writer/director Ben Hickernell that has received a surprisingly warm reception amongst critics, the film stars Josh Hopkins and Samantha Mathis. The Inky's Stephen Rea calls it "sharply observed, emotionally resonant."
Full Review: Lebanon, Pa.
Now Playing: Ritz at the Bourse
Complete the Experience: If you come out feeling Pennsylvania's rural middle, check out the action in Lancaster.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

Fast Five
The Story: A group of skilled criminals plan one last big heist, but run afoul of both a Latin crimelord and the FBI.
The Skinny: Blah blah blah guns blah blah blah babes blah blah blah street racing. But also, a knock-down, drag-out between Vin Diesel and the Rock. It's almost a WWE match-up! Apparently, it's also a good deal of fun, if you take Popcorn Biz' Scott Ross at his word: "it's an eye-popping spectacle of shootouts and high speed chases so exhilarating that the moments of brutal dialogue almost come as a welcome respite for your brain."
Full Review: Fast Five
Now Playing: AMC Cherry Hill
Complete the Experience: Can't tell you where the kids are illegally street racing these days -- we're too old -- but you can safely hit the Go-Kart circuit at Delaware's Mid Atlantic Grand Prix.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

Exporting Raymond
The Story: A successful TV comedy producer tries to import his greatest success into Russia with little to show for it.
The Skinny: A documentary from Philip Rosenthal, creator of "Everyone Loves Raymond," as he attempts to re-create the show for a Russian audience and instead meets with skepticism and total disinterest. The fish-out-of-water story sounds so much like it could be the pilot of another sit-com, it's sort of uncanny, but Ellen Gray over at the Inky seemed inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt, writing "People who never saw (or never much liked) "Everybody Loves Raymond" might not get the specifics. But complaining about people who don't get your jokes? That is universal."
Full Review: Exporting Raymond
Now Playing: Ritz at the Bourse
Complete the Experience: Can't speak to their collective sense of humor, but you can always get your Russia on at the RUBA Club.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%

The Story: High school teenagers prepare for the big day.
The Skinny: A wholesome Disney production, which means you can assume lots of very, very pretty boys and girls who are troubled but not edgy, and probably just the right mix of heartbreak and true love. The avclub's Scott Tobias remains unmoved, suggesting the film "simply fills in the colors as the numbers demand and the cast seems unable or unwilling to do anything but hit their marks, whip out blinding smiles, and wait for the slow-dance happy ending."
Full Review: Prom
Now Playing: UA Riverview
Complete the Experience: One great thing about getting a bit older is you can legally get into way better parties than a prom. For example, check out the magic and majesty of Dave P's 'Making Time' extravaganza.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 46%

I Am
The Story: A former big-screen comedy writer suffers a harrowing accident, then goes on a search to find answers to some of life's most vexing questions.
The Skinny: The documentary from comedy writer Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty) comes after a bike accident left him groggy, and post-concussed. Wanting to explore more about society's ills, he interviews heavyweights such as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Desmond Tutu to discuss ways in which we can all better our planet. Despite all the obvious ways this could have gone off the rails, the end result is surprisingly affecting, according to the Inky's Carrie Rickey: "Did I enjoy Shadyac's film? Very much. Do I think he made many of his points more accessibly and entertainingly in Bruce Almighty? You bet."
Full Review: I Am
Now Playing: Ritz Five
Complete the Experience: Move to the next level of consciousness with more studying of the world's leading thinkers, new age or otherwise, at the Garland of Letters.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44%

Hoodwinked Too!
The Story: Hansel and Gretel disappear and it's up to the Wolf and Red Riding Hood to find them.
The Skinny: A sequel, Harvey, really? Justice has been quick and brutal on this would-be kids' romp, though the Inky's Stephen Rea was gentler than most, saying the film is "like a comic-book quest adventure, written by someone with attention deficit disorder."
Full Review: Hoodwinked Too!
Now Playing: UA Riverview
Complete the Experience: If your child is taken with fairy tales such as "Red Riding Hood" and "Hansel & Gretel" might we suggest feeding their interest with actual books from the Free Library.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 6%

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
The Story: A Louisiana-based supernatural private eye does battle with the evil forces of the bayou.
The Skinny: Another graphic novel adaptation -- a process which has become a total crapshoot, by this point -- Tiziano Sclavi's original source material gets the low-budget, cult-hopeful treatment here, which may or may not actually hold water. Alas, the film, which stars former 'Superman' bust Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington, has absolutely no critical credentials at this point. The best we could come up with is IGN's Jim Vejvoda, whom actually appears in the film itself (as a cannibal zombie, no less), and even he concedes "it's too small and forgettable, a piece of genre fare."
Full Review: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
Now Playing: The Pearl
Complete the Experience: Set in the Louisiana Bayou, keep the vibe going with a visit to Café Nola.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: No Score

Nuremberg: Its Lessons For Today
The Story: The original Nazi war criminal trial is held among a cadre of Allied prosecutors.
The Skinny: A beautiful restoration of the original 1948 documentary from Stuart Schulberg made by the U.S. War Department, the extensive restoration allows movie-goers to witness the full power of the process, one of the early steps to healing the massive wounds of the devastation of WW II. Writes City Paper's Cindy Fuchs, "the film conveys the efforts to restore some trust in institutional authority, as a source of answers, as impossible as that may have been."
Full Review: Nuremberg: Its Lessons For Today
Now Playing: Ritz at the Bourse
Complete the Experience: The pain and suffering the Nazis inflicted wasn't just towards the Jews, of course, but many who fled Europe came to America and made new lives for themselves. You can find more about their stories at the National Museum of American Jewish History.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: n/a

Screen Grabs: The films you should drop everything to see, and the ones you should avoid like the plague.

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